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India and Bangladesh will undertake a major project to repair and maintain damaged pillars along the 4,096-km long border they share, the BSF DG today said. The border guarding forces of India and Bangladesh will take care of the pillars on an 'odd-even basis'. "We have been maintaining (border) pillars on the Pakistan side.
We proposed to the government and the ministry of external affairs that we would want to do that on the Bangladesh side as well because the state PWDs, which were given the task of maintaining these pillars, were not doing a very good job. Consequently, the government with the concurrence of state governments has agreed to give this work to us and taking this as an example, the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) has asked their home ministry to give this task to them," Sharma said. He said the BGB has got an "in-principle approval" for conducting the task and both the border guarding forces will take care of the pillars on an 'odd-even basis'. "We will maintain one (pillar) and the other one will be maintained by the BGB. Because of lack of maintenance, they (border pillars) are not in good condition...," he said. It was not immediately known as to how many border pillars are there on the Indo-Bangla border. "Some pillars will be repaired while some will be maintained, some constructed afresh and few re-constructed," a senior official said. The decision was taken at the end of the five-day bi- annual Director General (DG) level talks between the BSF and the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) here. The BGB delegation, led by its DG Maj Gen Abul Hossain, arrived here on October 2. Asked about other major takeaways of the meeting between the two sides, the BSF chief said the work to erect a single- row fence in many places along this border is progressing well and that they were "awaiting" approval from the Bangladesh government for creating this fence at the remaining few locations. The new fence is aimed to secure over 250 villages that fall between the International Border (IB) and a barbed wire fencing 150 metres away. "It will stop criminal activities on both the sides (of the Indo-Bangla border)," Sharma said. The BSF also took up with their counterparts the issue of attacks on its personnel by Bangladeshi criminals on the border. "Other issues like prevention of trans-border crimes, expediting verification of nationality for early repatriation of Bangladeshi nationals found staying in India illegally and cattle smuggling crimes were also taken up by the BSF with the BGB," a senior official said. The BGB took up the issue of killing of Bangladeshis by the BSF apart from issues of narcotics smuggling, he said. The next DG-level talks are expected to be held in Dhaka next year in February or March, he added.
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